Dwaraka, Sri Krishna’s Place & Nageshwar, Shiva’s Place
Rajkot to Dwarka was going to be a long drive and we wanted to reach there before 7:00 p.m. to attend the evening arati. We had gotten up early in the morning. So, after a sumptuous lunch, many started to catch up on their sleep. But, the rest of the bus was fully awake–sharing jokes and interesting stories, while others enjoyed observing various things coming on the road.
The rain had stopped and the day was bright. We were happy to see many windmills, which were generating natural electricity. When we approached Dwarka, we saw the gorgeous Dwarikadhish Temple from a distance. We were excited to visit the temple. We arrived just on time because of our skillful driver and our planning. Again, thanks to the organizers, the check-in of 54 people in the hotel was smooth and fast. Everyone got ready within a short time and with a guide, we all headed to the famous Dwarakadish Temple. Because of the rain, the roads were filled with mud and water. It was a bit of an adventure. Students, who had come to India for the first time during the monsoon season, learned how to walk on such muddy streets. They also learned how to go around cows and dogs.
As we approached the temple we start hearing joyful cries like “Dwarikadhish ki jai!” Our main concern was to remain together in the crowd. Our guide and adults helped with this. The guide explained the history and mythology behind the main temple and other small temples inside. When the time came for arati, the guide told us to stand in the line for “darshan” of Dwarikadhish Sri Krishna. We saw that some ladies had even stood on the railings to catch a glimpse of the deity. The arati began. People raised their two hands and started chanting Sri Krishna’s names. The environment was filled with devotion. The procedure was that men and women, in separate lines, were to walk one by one, go near the deity, salute and move onward. If you wanted to do “darshan” again, then you had to stand in line again. Some people went two-three times to satisfy their desire to see Dwarikadhishji. When Swami Vivekananda came here in 1891, he wrote that Shri Krishna’s image was beautiful, but the crowd would not let you stand in front of deity for long. One had to look at the deity, then keep it in one’s heart, and close the doors of the eyes.
After all had “darshan,” our guide took us to Sri Adi Shankaracharya Pitham, which was next to the temple inside the campus. The current Shankaracharyaji was not there. The guide then took us to several small temples and told us the stories associated with them. Fully satisfied with our visit, we proceeded back to our hotel. Upon arriving back at the hotel, we learned that since we missed our dinner reservation time, we had to wait for an hour before the hotel could accommodate 54 people. So we all sat in the lobby waiting for food. Trupti Aunty and a few students sang Shri Krishna’s dhoons and bhajans in the lobby. After dinner, all wanted to sleep. We were about to retire to our rooms, when some of us heard that the bus had run into a mechanical problem. Our bus driver was trying to find a mechanic. We left it in the driver’s hands.
A few devotees decided to attend the mangala arati at 6:00 a.m. They got up early, got ready, and enjoyed the early morning arati. Their extra reward was that they had a group picture taken by a professional in front of this famous temple for a very reasonable price. As we were finishing breakfast, we waited for news about the bus. We were worried about whether the bus would run. Fortunately, Kalpitbhai and the driver had found a mechanic at night and fixed the problem. We were lucky and ready to go!
One good thing happened in the morning. Sudhirbhai told us that they could see the ocean from their room windows. We all ran to his room and found a spectacular view of ocean. Then, we found that from the terrace we could get an even better view of the ocean and the temple. The day was bright. We all headed to the terrace where we enjoyed a beautiful view of the rough ocean and a clear view of the temple. This fulfilled the desire of many people who wanted to see the ocean.
When we started to get into the bus, a smart vendor brought varieties of things to sell. Several people were excited to shop because we did not have any shopping plans in our program. This delayed our bus a little, but seeing the joy of people shopping, others did not mind.
We started to go to Nageshwara. There is a controversy about this temple that whether it is one of the Dwadash Jyotirlingas (12 famous Shivalingam). We heard that Gulshan had taken interest and helped in the development of this temple. So far, we had been thinking of Shri Krishna, now we started thinking of Shiva. In the bus, Nilesh sang and led “Nagendra Haraya…” Some students, who did not know Nilesh, were surprised to see that he could sing so well. All enjoyed the hymn and the dhoon “Namah Shivay…” Nageshwara was only 15 kilometers away from Dwarka. When the bus stopped, all were amazed to see a huge statue of Shiva. It created a divine mood in the minds of all. The entrance to the temple, the clean ground inside, a huge banyan tree, and the temple structure created a very good impression in the minds of all. We entered the temple and found that it was clean and there was an orderly way to go to the shrine. We all saluted and felt like singing the salutation mantra, “Om Namah Shivay Shnatay…” Then all were inspired to sing Shiva’s dhoons and bhajans, especially led by Trupti Aunty. Her melodious voice captured the minds of all. There were many singers in the group, so we had a special Shiva’s celebration for about 45 minutes. We wish we had taped the singing. It was in tune, filled with devotion and sweet in melody.
All ladies decided to do Shiva puja. Men were required to wear dhoti for the puja, so they were not very enthusiastic. The priest informed us that only family members could go together, but Trupti Aunty said that this was one family, our Vidyapith family. Somehow they agreed to let most of the ladies & girls go for puja. They all did joint puja of Shiva while singing “Om Namah Shivay..” and “Hara Hara Bhole, Namah Shivay…” I have no doubt that Shiva must have been greatly pleased. Actually, Shiva had arranged this whole thing. After being pleased with the singing and puja, we all came outside and took a group picture under the huge banyan tree. The whole environment was peaceful, serene, and joyful.
We were getting little late in our schedule and started walking towards the bus. But how could we miss a group picture under the huge statute of Shiva? Again we quickly assembled to take another photo and filed into the bus. Kalpitbhai had told us that nearby, there was a hill on which there were beautiful statues of Shiva and his family. As we passed by them, we saluted from the bus and continued on our journey. Our next stop was Porbandar.
“India’s gift to the world is the spiritual light…Slow and silent, as the gentle dew that falls in the morning, unseen and unheard yet producing a most tremendous result.” – Swami Vivekananda